It's all about perspective....
The Great Barrier Reef is in the midst of its worst coral bleaching event on record, but at least one tourist body says scientists' claims are overstated.
Some 1300 kilometres of reefs from Papua New Guinea south to Townsville have been surveyed by air, with scientists painting a bleak picture.
" ... Seventy-five per cent of corals north of Cairns are snow white," Professor Terry Hughes, convenor of the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce, said on Monday.
"The amount of corals in the northern third (of the reef) used to be substantially higher than further south. That's no longer the case."
Last week Professor Hughes said the damage extended further south than first thought, with some 74 reefs between Cairns and Townsville on average bleached 25-30 per cent.
However, Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive officer Alex de Waal believes areas off Cairns and Port Douglas, where most boat tours visit, are "looking great".
"Our operators have reported just a few isolated incidents of staghorn coral bleaching in the areas they operate," he said.
Divers from the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators (AMPTO) and other organisations are carrying out underwater surveys of the reef.
They say a close examination is needed to determine the true extent of bleaching.
"In the last two weeks AMPTO has already conducted more than 100 Reef Health Indicator Surveys (RHIS) on reefs off Cairns that show a bleaching average of less than 5 per cent," AMPTO executive director Col McKenzie said.
"Of course, the current bleaching event is very concerning but we need the facts before we react emotionally."